As of next Sunday every plastic bag or paper bag used by shoppers in Wales to take their goods home will carry a 5p surcharge. I am surprised that all of the major retail chains have agreed to acquiesce. Under European law minimum pricing is illegal and this charge on bags is a clear case of illegal minimum pricing.
Because the Welsh Assembly Government is unable to raise taxes the proceeds from the 5p charge for each bag used in the larger retailers is going to be given to charity. Some supermarkets have named the charities that are going to benefit. Tesco will give to the RSPB, Morrison's to Save the Children, Boots to MacMillan Nurses. Others just note that the money raised will support unspecified charities; Asda will donate to local good causes and the Co-Op to environmental projects.
It would be interesting to know if the money given to the likes of the RSPB, environmental projects and MacMillan Nurses will be for the benefit of those causes' work in Wales alone; or will my bag money be subsidising their work in more affluent parts of the UK?
Will the plastic bags charge help or hinder charities?
When the nice lady from the local church comes round with her Save the Children envelope every year I am quite happy to give a couple of bob to the cause. But if I feel that I have been ripped off by Save the Children every time I shop in Morrisons – she might be sent away with a flea in her ear the next time she comes-a-knocking.
Many local charities raise money at Christmas and other holiday periods by offering to pack customers bags for them in exchange for a small donation; it's a major income source for many youth club, Scouts, Urdd etc groups. I will not be willing to be forced to give money to one charity for the bags and then volunteer to give to another for the packing. This bag charge could be the death knell for many local youth groups.
Isn't the point of charitable giving that it is voluntary? There are some registered charities who's objectives and activities I totally oppose. At the moment I can choose not to support them if I so wish. From next Sunday, if my local supermarket offers its support to one of those charities, I will be obliged under the force of law to donate a sum of money to them, against my wishes, in order to take my shopping home in a biodegradable plastic or paper bag! I suspect that there might be a human rights issue there!
Q Anybody know a no-win-no-fee HR lawyer who might take the issue on?
A Don't be silly Alwyn! The leftists who support Human Rights are the same people who support this enforced giving to anti-Welsh charities like the ROYAL Society for the Protection of Birds and the English National Trust (AKA The Save Snowdon from the Welsh Society)!
This is a Nationalist issue which Plaid should oppose on Nationalist grounds, but which Plaid stupidly supports in order to prove its British Socialist and British Environmental credentials!